So my summer romance fizzled up just in time to have a fall one. Of course it sucks and I did not want it to happen, but HEY I am not devastated, nor blindsided and this time I was the one who recognized it wasn’t working and broke it off. This is a big deal for me! If you have kept up with any of my past posts you are familiar my lack of awareness. Over the past several months I have been doing lots of work on learning what I want, what I don’t want, what happiness means to me and how to attract people who know those things too. Since self reflection is one of my favorite things to do, I figured I would share some of the steps I have taken to get to the place I am today.
Therapy - Yep, I kept that shit up. I go once a month with questions, journals and experiences that I would like to work through with her. I have spent most of my time in therapy talking about my love life because I feel like that is the place I need to work on most, but through the dissection of why I am attracted to guy A, B, or C, I have learned more about my friendships, relationships with my parents and overall just how to really be aware of what I am feeling and what that means. My therapist practices Imago in case you interested in learning more. Sounds silly to say out loud because it seems obvious, but when you start making decisions that are more self serving and thought through rather than based upon the what ifs (example “what if this guy emotionally opens up”) you just start feeling so much better about everything. I never looked at myself as a complete people pleaser, but I was one. I definitely still have those tendencies and I don’t want to smash it completely out of myself, but I know now that being compassionate for others doesn’t always have to cross the line of being a people pleaser.
Meditation - I found an amazing meditation teacher on the East Side. The first time I went to this class I wasn’t sure what to expect. My only experiences with meditation were in a Jivamukti yoga class I have been going to pretty religiously over the past several months. I have had plenty of experiences where I feel like I am outside of myself in the best way possible, so I was expecting this to be similar. If you chant or do yoga you might be familiar with this feeling of being high without being high. It’s absolutely lovely, but this class is completely different than that for me. It is a small group of 15 people who gather for an hour and a half sit guided by this wonderful teacher. It is interesting because this class is part of what really compelled me to take more control of my happiness and end things with my boyfriend. The first time I went I was still with him. I just couldn’t get into it because I was thinking about how stupid he would think it was and how disinterested he would be in even hearing about it. The second time I went was a couple days after I broke it off. It was as if the class was a special one just for me. The exercise was to think of a person or thing you need to let go. A while into the sit you were instructed to let that person go and also say a word associated with them. My word was love. Love really was the reason I moved on. Self love, the need to feel loved, be loved, experience healthy love, be with someone who wants to be loved. LOVE IS THE ANSWER! Okay, sorry for that momentary lapse into complete cheese, but it is pretty true. At this point in the sit I started to cry. It was as if I watching Parenthood alone in my apartment. It felt great. Then we practiced “love and kindness” which is just repeating a mantra of love and kindness to yourself and offering it to others in the room, in the universe, basically as far as you want to take it. Of course I started crying even more, but still it felt amazing. I feel so connected with the group of people who go to sit in that room and I’ve never said one word to them about what I was going through. They were just what I needed last week and I am so excited to go be with them again tonight. And just in case you were wondering, yes I live in LA. Yes I am hipster-ish. No I don’t care for patchouli oil.
Yoga - So there is a couple of great studios in my area that I frequent, but one of them is very big on promoting self love, self care, sisterhood, community and awesomeness! This year I have stepped up my practice to a whole new level. I am sure within the next couple of years I will go for my teacher training, as this is a huge part of my life and I want to share it with other people. Breath work and exercise are two of the most wonderful things in the world. I have never really come from a place of doing exercise for self love purposes, normally it has just been because I feel fat and terrible about myself and that is the motivation, but I am changing this. Yes, I still feel gross about myself sometimes, but I don’t completely submit to it anymore. When I am good about practicing, running (we can be honest, sprint/walking) with Gertie and food prep I know it radiates off of me. I have had a terrible relationship with body image over the years, I don’t think I show it to people too much, but I definitely have thought about myself negatively a lot. One time I had a friend say I was just the “cute chubby chick” (which by the way is a terrible thing to tell someone) but I started thinking of myself that way much more after someone told me that out loud. I have done my best to erase that image of myself, but I still sometimes will still put myself at the end of a chubby joke to make others laugh, and sure they are really funny, but why the fuck do I do that? I’M NOT EVEN THAT CHUBBY!? I have a great body that serves me and I credit a lot of that thinking to yoga and to the friends I am closest to now. In case you have shitty friends and need new ones, my protip is that it helps to have serious feminist friends.
Activities - One of the only things that actually connected my ex and I was music. And I loved that we went to see live music all the time. Sometimes I let that go when I get into something with someone who doesn’t make time for it, or I will see less live music on my own for fear of not having someone to go with, but FUCK THAT. I love love love seeing live music. I love falling in love with one of the band members, the people watching and tispy dancing that happens. I will make it a priority to drag my friends or just myself to every show in town I want to see. Comedy included. Flower arrangements! I never made them when I got a boyfriend because I felt weird about buying myself flowers (probably because I knew he would never ever think to do that for me) but that is stupid. I love creating flower arrangements for my own home, for my friends and just because the LA Flower Market is one of the most magical places in the world. Lastly, I always do one impulsive thing when I breakup with someone. One time it was moving (great decision) another time it was immersing myself into yoga (another great decision) and this time it is enrolling in a spanish class. Mi nombre es Dylan y yo tomar grandes decisiones! Was that right? I have no idea, I only took one clase. This class is my introduction back into school. I needed it. My teacher is completely disorganized, but at least now when I date another white guy who just assumes I speak spanish I can maybe actually do it!
So there you have it, my self-care / break-up guide. I love talking to people about these things and I most likely going to start the podcast back up. If you are interested in any of the teachers / studios I am talking about feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can refer you. My next venture are two workshops offered by a local life coach. I am having dinner at her house this Thursday. You can bet your ass I will write about those.
The worst part of dating is exploring things with new people and when you realize they aren’t working… you have to end it. It’s horrible and hard and I just hate hurting people’s feelings… but I recently had to do it. I had to end this particular courtship for a number of reasons, but the main one is that I did not feel like I being courted or explored in the right ways. As I get older I realize that being told you are fun, pretty and smart is exciting and feels great… but there is so much more that needs to be said, done and shown to create a foundation of a relationship. Part of that is courting. Traditional, old school dating. Men who take me to dinner, shows and drinks have the edge. They just do. And it’s not that they pick up the tab, it’s that they erase my fears of becoming stagnant and bored. All of my married friends would agree that it is important to keep doing those date type things throughout your entire relationship together and relationships that don’t start off on that foot scare me and remind me of the ones I have had and ended. I have an easy time connecting with people who show interest in me. So often I am told things along the lines of how supported, secure and championed people (men and friends) feel by me. All the while I am handing out love and encouragement, I rarely receive that back from love interests. I feel like I stay in things and I patiently wait to receive support that gives you piece of mind, but I don’t get it. That is probably why I constantly recount things with friends, they offer that to me when I should probably be with someone who does that naturally. And just to recap… the two times I have requested support and more engagement from men in my life, they ran away. I don’t want to try something like that again… it’s not working for me.
My friend dated a guy who she was not feeling and ended up breaking it off. This guy told her “You are not over your ex.” We had a laugh and a long discussion about how this is one of the most insulting things you can say to someone when they are trying to be respectful and end things in the nicest way possible. Surprise! This happened to me. It is fucking insulting. It’s particularly insulting when it’s coming from someone who doesn’t understand or know much about your past and what you have been through. No one wants to hear presumptuous things. God forbid that this isn’t working because it just isn’t working. I’m not asking for any responsibility to be taken, but the blame doesn’t have to be placed on anyone and especially not on something you don’t know anything about. Yes, I have been having a hard time because I was so in love and blindsided by my last break up and as a result I unfairly compare people to not really what I loved so much, (because it is OK to take things you loved about a person from your past and find that and something more in a new person) but the comparison is coming from all the things that are reminding me of what I don’t want. The things I have sat and thought about, all of the red flags I failed to see because of love. So now I compare all of the possible red flags in a new person to my ex’s. I do this because I am terrified of falling into something that is not good. I am easy to love and I love easy. That is how I find myself with guys who don’t want to do anything with me and are shocked with I have expectations 6 months in. I don’t want to be with someone who I am comparing to my ex’s flaws. I know that is not fair to anyone involved.
So here is my open letter to the man who failed to court me:
I know I made you feel good and I know that you felt supported and happy around me. I know. I know. I know. The way the last conversation went is telling. My feelings were tossed out the door because I obviously have no expectations, needs or wants… I am just a girl who isn’t over her ex. It has nothing to do with not really being heard or understood. It couldn’t possibly be because I just didn’t feel connected. It couldn’t possibly be because things I want to happen in the start of a new relationship weren’t happening. Telling you it wasn’t working out wasn’t fun at all. I hated the way it felt, so I vented and I told the breakup story to two people and they both said the same thing. “Sounds like a lot of ‘me, me, me’ was being said when you were letting it go.” They are completely right. I don’t know if things would have been different if you would have asked what I wanted and that you really wanted to make me feel all the things I was making you feel (you kind of mentioned that, but shit on it when the only logical explanation in your mind was my ex)… but it would have been nice to hear a bit more of that or just experienced it without asking someone if they want to know more about me.
I kind of knew the test would be dating people again. OK, I knew the test would be dating people again… to specify, the test would be dating people who are looking for other people to have relationships with. It is so much easier for me to date people who just want to have sex. Dating people who are less interested in just sex and more interested in you involves too much thought. Is this the right time? Can I just be my normal free loving self? There were parts of the “normal” self that were wrong, right? What happens if I treat them too nice and it turns into a real relationship? What if it gets to the monogamy conversation and I’m just not sure if I want that? I have a million questions and I know all of the damn answers, but I kind of got to this place where my sensibilities only felt natural and normal when validated by another person. Not just any person, a professional people person.
Navigating through things without her is hard. I am a little worried I have a major self esteem issue. I spent weeks going to her to have her tell me I was normal and worthy… I don’t question the worthy part, but I spend a lot of time thinking about if I am the type people want to be with or if I am just charming their socks off, using the sexy things, smiling too much and basically just fooling them into being into me. I feel like there is a horrific part of me that will instantly make people leave me and once they find out it is all over. I have never seen this mythical part first hand, I don’t even know what I am talking about, I don’t think it really exists. At best it is manifested in the fear that it may exists. Now that I have written that I see a major self esteem thing happening. I can’t fucking help that though… I think men who are enamored with me very quickly scare me. They remind me so much of the two other beaus I have written about. They make me feel like I have to really sit down and think about whether I like them or not because if I go with the flow I will find myself flowing down a lovely river and then suddenly fall down the waterfall and crash. Forgive that fucking terrible metaphor, but I can’t think of anything else. I guess I don’t know what else to say at this point, just that I have feelings and I miss my therapist. If I can’t shake this crap I will see her soon. Who doesn’t like paying lots of money to feel sane again? I know I do.
Welp, I’m back in the game guys… what I should really be saying is “Ah, the joys of navigating through the dating world..” but this time it is different. It is a joy. Sure, some guys just suck big time… but this self love thing makes it much easier to look at them and say “Eh, you suck.” and quickly move along. I’ve been very honest with my expectations and I am very surprised at the results. One potential date listed he was not interested in having children on his dating profile…. he messaged me, I messaged back telling him that I am not interested in dating someone who never wants children (sounds cray I know, but really should I put in the time if that will never be an option?) he responded telling me that is just not his intention now, but it isn’t ever out of the question and he still wanted to go out with me after that very upfront confrontation. The date was fucking fabulous. Another guy said he would meet me in between his open mics for a walk around the park. After a day of thinking about that proposal I was disgusted that I would even agree to that. This happened to me once before a long time ago, someone met up with me a few times during the day in between his apartment viewings… ew, where was my self respect? What was I thinking? #desperatedylan. Glad she died. ANYWAY, I told open mic man that unfortunately I would have to cancel because being sandwiched in between his gigs was not acceptable to me. He thanked me for my honesty, told me “Fuck those other things, I will be available all night and can meet up whenever you want.” What? I voice my expectation and it is met? Again? Two times? Wow. I guess all this work I’ve been doing… all this generating my inner smile, radiating light and happiness stuff is working. Or maybe I just got the balls to ask for what I really want?
Either way, the start of this new dating venture is very pleasant. It’s less stressful when waiting for a call is more exciting than killing you with anticipation. Having your own schedule comes before dropping everything for a date. Knowing how to avoid guys who are “Girlfriend Shopping” is something I’m more aware of and steering clear of men who are not self aware and are drowning in their mental health/ substance abuse issues. I feel like I am attracting quality guys. I’m being open. I’ve met people at the dog park, through friends and online. I’m utilizing all my options and I’m in no rush to be someone’s girlfriend. The focus is to continue to put myself out there, keep focus on my friendships with my girlfriends, ramp up and continue on the physical/mental health journey I’ve been on and keep doing things that make me feel good. The power of saying NO is important to me right now. Hanging out alone is important to me. Writing and documenting is part of my journey. Happiness. Happiness. Happiness. Yoga, vodka sodas, Gertie things.
Someone should write me. Besides this post I don’t think I am going to talk much about the specifics of my dating life. I want to remain datable. I’m damn good at advice… so holla.
I am two sessions away from completing the twelve weeks of therapy that I decided to put myself in during my whole rediscovering Dylan period. It’s a little sad I won’t be seeing my lovely therapist every week….but hey, now I got to what she refers to as a “tool kit for life.” I have been navigating through my friendships and new relationships with this tool kit I now have and it’s the first time I have been really selfish. I’ve been paying someone to help me get rid of my people pleasing needs and life is much more pleasing now. I still find myself feeling conflicted over how to deal with things that involve other people’s feelings, but for the most part I do what is satisfying to me and I no longer feel like I am around for the convenience of others. People that are in my circle right now want to be there for me and it is because we have a vested interest in one another.
So part of this ALL ABOUT MEEEEEEEE period in my life is applying these things to my dating life. In the past when I would meet someone I was excited about I would change my lifestyle and cater to theirs. I would find myself breaking my exercise routine, changing my eating habits, skipping my yoga classes and basically just altering my lifestyle to match the person’s that I was interested in. I wouldn’t say I would loose my identity to them, but I would definitely put my desires in the backseat to make sure they were comfortable and for a people pleaser like myself, it was easy for me. I normally wouldn’t even think twice about it. This trait was definitely something I had to pay someone to uncover in me. So this time around I have made it a priority to make any dates that happen during my normal routine something that can fit in. Anyone who dates me has to be okay with being active, being around my Gertie, doing things that sometimes revolve around Gertie and lastly, someone who likes to go out. Going out together is so important. Being around other people and enjoying the person I am dating in a group is something that I feel I haven’t done enough of in my past relationships. I never shut myself off from friends, but the past two relationships I have had were apartment based relationships. Netflix was our best friend and going out for a quick drink or with a group of people didn’t happen enough. I shine in a group of people and I love seeing how my boo/potential boo acts around others. People who don’t need babysitting when we are out together and have fun in a group setting really turn me on.
So that is what I am looking for folks. I have put my needs out into the universe and maybe I will find it, but right now I am happier than ever. I know that for the first time in my single life I am content and it’s amazing to be able to say that and truly mean it. There is no bullshit here. It’s made any new dating venture fun instead of stressful. I’ve shed any desperation (at least I think I have) to be loved by a partner. I still want it, but I don’t need it to feel complete and as a result I know what I am looking for. It’s lovely to have clear expectations, limits and boundaries and not feel guilty about them.
Breaking up, Therapy and Adult Friend Making : How The First Quarter of The Year is Teaching Me That I Have Needs That Aren’t That Needy
To start - I highly doubt I will write about how happy I am ever again, because two times in a row I have written about how great [insert guy here] is and then very shortly after they come over to my house after a miniscule argument and declared they have [insert mental illness here] and that we have to break up. So yes, that happened. This time around it was even harder than before because I believed everything I was told by him, I did this one full Dylan style - the love output turned up to 110, the vulnerability bursting out of my pores and I lead with no caution. Never questioned why he was moving so fast, never questioned when he mentioned moving in so quickly, never thought twice about how it might be scary that he mentioned marriage after five months. I had the stars in my eyes and only thought “I am so in love and my life is beginning.” So once all that was crushed and I spent a long time crying I started thinking that there must be something wrong with me. Whatever it is that is attracting depressed, self medicating people into my life must be fixed immediately. So I started seeing a therapist. Yes, a therapist… and it turns out I am in the right city to do that. Everyone has one, we speak about it openly and they must be in high demand since I had to call about 50 to get one to call me back. I embarked (and I am still in) this journey of a 12 week self discovery (my insurance only covers 12 sessions) and so far I am learning a lot. Number one… I am not fucked up. I entered this thinking that I must have some repressed memory that we will uncover, and no. Turns out I am OK and mom and dad did a decent job. My unruly joy, self awareness and acceptance of others has been validated by a professional. What it has taught me is that I go with the flow too often. I have a tendency to never voice what I need from those I care about, end up in relationships that are just me giving, giving, giving and often times, the moment I need anything I am rejected, dumped or ignored.
Number two… I am too worried about being considered needy in my romantic relationships and I need to let that go. I am not sure why I am worried, maybe it has something to do with this idea that the entire world seems to delivers about women. You know, the one that is constantly saying how needy we are when we tell our partners that we would like to see them once in a while, that we need an emotional connection, that we expect support or just have expectations in general. I prided myself when my ex would tell me “I like you because you don’t bring any drama.” Well, I am not drama at all and what he was really telling me was, “I like you because you never really voice your needs, thus ensuring this is surface level and furthermore allowing me to be lazy and negligent when it comes to forming any real relationship with you.” I love giving in relationships. I have no problem being the person who offers up all they have, but in turn I tend to not expect much and it has only taken me to a place of hurt. This rings true in my friendships too. I can recall numerous times, especially in further back in my early youth that I have been used and when I need time or support or just to be heard, it just hasn’t worked out in my favor and I’ve felt very abandoned and alone. So, what does a girl do when she feels abandoned? She goes to therapy to make sure she isn’t fucking up and then goes on a hunt for some female friends.
Let’s be clear, I have friends… but upon moving to Los Angeles over two years ago, I haven’t really made any girlfriends outside of the lovely ladies I work with. I haven’t found anyone who lives a few minutes away and just wants to stop by and have dinner, go for a drink or to an event with me. Anytime I want to do something with friends I have to drive an hour or make plans days in advance for a night of bar hopping or a morning brunch. I just needed to expand my friend horizon, find some people who are looking for the same thing. People who have the time and want to spend it with others, simply put someone who just needs a friend. So I joined a Meetup and met some people. I MADE FRIENDS GUYS! Actually I made one friend so far, she is pretty awesome and lives close by. Gone are the days of having no one to call for a drink, netflix night or mourning the loss of a boyfriend and then the double whammy of missing his lovely friends extra hard because I lacked my own. With all that has happened to me so far this year, I have learned that I am not some needy freak and it is okay to have and allow myself to express needs and expectations from the people in my life. I don’t have to spend so much time being sorry for wanting things from those I love and next time I meet someone and romantic interest sparks I am more empowered to take a little bit and balance out what I give. I feel more emotionally empowered than ever before. Cheers to me and to those who have seriously lifted me up in the past month or so. It’s been really hard and it still is, but between you guys, yoga and Gertie I’ve been able to learn so much more about myself. xoxo
dvnospeak said: How are you so awesome?
I don’t know how I missed this wonderful message. Thank you. I don’t know how I am so awesome, but I needed to hear this right now.
So guess what guys…. I am in love again. I’ve been so for a while and I’ve just decided not to spill because I feel like keeping this one for a long time, but I have learned a little since I’ve found this new love and I think it is worth sharing.
I met him online. Guess what - OK CUPID WORKS. Keep sifting through those pervs and occasional dick pics. There are real guys out there who actually want to build something with someone. Trust me. I found it.
This is first time ever in my entire life that my best friend has met a boyfriend of mine and liked him. In fact, she told me today “If you guys break up I am ditching you and keeping him.” WOW. I can’t believe I found someone that she likes. Everyone likes him. I think when you find someone you who compliments you and truly makes you happy the other loved ones in your life will take notice. They all have… my mom is another story, but I am convinced that she loves him too. She just likes to keep things secret.
I’ve never dated anyone who had their shit together. At the start of this courtship I was completely confused about what my role should be. I was used to being with someone who had to be pushed to no end, someone who I could continually motivate and help them work towards their dreams of whatever absolutely unrealistic thing they wanted to do. After I became comfortable with the thought and role of just sitting back and being a partner rather than a pusher, I was able to submit myself to the relationship I am in today. And I say submit, because I didn’t have to fix anyone and that was hard for me to accept in the beginning. I almost screwed it up by completely pushing him away because I didn’t know how to deal with it. But now I do, and it is quite nice.
He assures me. I was told pretty quickly that he wasn’t going to see anyone else and it was so refreshing to hear a man tell me that. What? I don’t have to wonder if I’m the only one? Awesome. He reassures me about a lot of things. I need less reassuring nowadays because that is just where we are at. But at the start it was a nice perk and I am sure it will continue to be.
I don’t have too much more to say, other than I am happy and I hope to be for a long time. I still have a big mouth and a lot of opinions, so send your questions my way. I am happy to answer any and all.
With love from the one who is in love,